Wide receiver Charles Johnson, who has been a starter for the Minnesota Vikings in all but "official" terms for the past couple of weeks, has officially been named the starting split end for the Vikings' offense.
Over the last two weeks, Johnson has played all but three of the Vikings' offensive snaps, seeing the field on 106 of the Vikings' 109 offensive plays. He has officially supplanted Cordarrelle Patterson at the split end spot.
Johnson's physical prowess has never really been in question. Leading up to the 2013 NFL Draft, the 6'2", 215-pound Johnson was timed with a sub-4.4 second 40-yard dash and a 39.5-inch vertical. However, his small school pedigree. . .he played his college ball at Grand Valley State. . .helped to push him to the seventh round of the draft. In eight games for the Vikings, he has caught 17 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown. That's a pretty impressive jump for a guy that didn't sign with the Vikings until Week 3 and wasn't activated until Week 5.
On the other hand, Patterson's fall from grace continues, as he was limited to just three offensive snaps this past weekend against the Carolina Panthers. Much of that was chalked up to him missing practice to attend a funeral during the week prior to the game. Despite the drop-off, both Patterson and the Vikings' coaches insist that there is no rift between them.
"I think anyone that is a situation where he didn't play last week would be frustrated. But Cordarrelle knows that he wasn't here all week," Turner said. "He was out of town at a funeral. It's hard to get ready. We had a totally different game plan for Carolina."
. . .
"We all get frustrated. Not just with me, but every receiver," said Patterson, who has 30 catches for 350 yards and a touchdown. "They want the ball, they want to play and opportunities get low sometimes. You just got to be the better person and don't take it too personal."
I'm not sure how many snaps Cordarrelle Patterson is going to see this weekend against the New York Jets or for the rest of the year going forward, but it likely won't be enough to erase what can charitably be described as a "disappointing" sophomore campaign.
On the other hand, however, a big congratulations to Charles Johnson for cracking the Vikings' starting lineup and looking like he could really be a guy the Vikings can make a part of their long-term plans.